Way up in Orkney: Those Islands off the Northcoast.

I didn’t have a huge hankerin’ to go to the Orkneys but friends really wanted to go, so we though we’d give it a whirl. We were glad we did..

There was the nice drive up the coast from Inverness to John O’Groats.. yes thats the name of the town on the northern most tip of mainland Scotland that you can easily walk to and get a great tourist photo: see exhibit A


Then the ferry ride over to Orkney from Gills Bay on Pentland Ferries

And an hour and a half later we were on Orkney! Its a group of several islands and we landed on the biggest one called ‘Mainland‘.. so creative! This is where we booked an AirBnb house for three nights (which is how long you need to not just have one day on the island and to make paying for the ferry and drive worth it!)

Here are some highlights from our 2 days


Standing Stones of Stenness, c. 4000BC



Ring of Brognar  c.4000BC


If you like old ancient things, this is the place for you! Ancient stone circles, still relatively untouched, and no fences like at Stonehenge! They have been left alone because of sheer remoteness and stand ready, no pun intended, to wow you.

But we hadn’t seen Skara Brae yet! This was an almost complete Neolithic village left intact and buried in the dunes that was revealed after a monster storm swept over in 1850.


A typical Skara Brae home with hearth and beds


Then we took a turn on the way back from Skara Brae and ended up wandering down a coastal trail that led to this!


Yeansby ‘Castle’: a seastack with two feet!


And more dramatic cliffs



And a sea stack with a bridge which we did not cross!


Island of Hoy in the distance

From here we could see our next day’s adventure…. the Island of Hoy! It was spectacular…….stay tuned!

The Details:

Pentland Ferries: £38  per car one-way, then add £16 per adult one-way. Departs from  Gill’s Bay near John O’Groats, landing at St. Margaret’s Hope. (Yes it cost our car with 4 adults £204!) Journey takes about 1.5 hours each way. You can cross without a car as there are public busses on Mainland Island.

AirBnb House: at this link

Skara BraeAdmission and Hours

Both stone circles, Brognar and Stenness,  above are free and open 24/7 with free parking.

2 thoughts on “Way up in Orkney: Those Islands off the Northcoast.

  1. Pingback: Isle of Hoy: Home of UK’s Tallest Seastack | DC to Deeside

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